I have no reason to lie to anyone. I have no reason to make you doubt me, although I cannot expect most to believe me. I remember when a friend of mine told me about a weird game called "Maplestory". I thought to myself, "That sounds strange, what even is that? Do you level up by drinking maple syrup or something?" Even more strange, when I tried the beta version in 2005, there was something so strange about killing snails that were almost as big as my character. So strange, yet I immediately felt a nostalgic feeling. I'm well aware nostalgia means to reminisce of good times past, but every time I played Maplestory, I felt that feeling in me, even back then. I can't explain it better than that. The BGM music, the sounds of slimes being squished when you finish them off.
I didn't have a normal childhood, I moved around a lot as a kid, and so I never really made friends for too long. Maplestory was the definition of my childhood, it was always something I could come back to, like an old friend. I've often found myself getting lost in the game's mesmerizing tranquility, while I would train, friends I've made along the way would tell me cool ways they discovered of how to upgrade weapons, or what scrolls/weapons they'd find from certain monsters. There was a time before hiddenstreet or sleepywood sites to help us in the game, where we had to figure things out on our own, and it was exciting to discover things like that for the first time. I remember when DerangedCow and Stephen were the first two level 100 clerics (before 3rd job) when they were (hacking) training at FOG or Taurospears/macis.
Tiger wasn't just one person, we were multiple people. We each split our time individually to train nonstop, almost like a clock-in, clock-out type of position. I was the last one to train Tiger to 186, before things went sour. Aside from the guild drama at the time, the actual creator of the character Tiger, Gavin, was going through a rough time in real life. His father killed himself, and when he turned to the game for comfort, he only found that he came back to guild drama in the game. So he decided to leave the character to myself and the other two people in charge. Sadly, before I even got a chance to continue training Tiger, one of the others in charge of the account, claimed it for himself, pillaged it, and sold the IGN to someone, who then hacked it to 200, got it banned, and it was eventually deleted. Tiger, technically was the first level 200 before Fangblade. Not many remember that, and it's easy to understand why. The only difference was that Fangblade somehow didn't get caught hacking, so stayed on the roster.
As time moved on, I never saw or heard from Gavin again. When we played, we were good friends, he was kind of socially awkward, but nice. we didn't have any deep meaningful conversations, we didn't go to a mountain and travel back together. For the most part, we took turns training Tiger, and stayed on each other's buddylist. After that ended, I took about a year's break from Maplestory. My main character at the time before I temporarily left was "Airster", a crossbowman in the guild OMS40Archers and XFORCE, and AutumFalls. When I came back later on, it was around the time right before the Big Bang patch was about to happen. I was excited/nervous to see what Nexon had in store for us. Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed, but I struggled on like anyone else did. As I was playing my crossbowman, I would always get caught up in nostalgia, and it would eventually come around to me thinking about Tiger and what an adventure that was. So, I did the next best thing, and made a character named TigerBeta, in respects to my old friend, and a good time. I joined a guild called BossCrew, there was a guy named Brian (his character name was Wegy), and we hit it off from there. Things were good for a little while for me, until one day there was a glitch from a patch where you could instantly level to 200. My friend Wegy was doing it on mule characters, I was an idiot and did it on a mule character attached to the SAME account as TigerBeta, and got perma banned.
I was pretty upset at myself for doing that, but I was able to make a new account, this time I named him TigerAwoken. This was the character that really stuck for me. I made so many friends, and so many memories with this character. To this day I still have my guild, Beholden, I swing on TigerAwoken from time to time to check in. And I owed it all to an old friend. To a character that I trained on before-hand. I met someone named RoyalTigers (coincidence) and we hit it off, we even got together in real life, but things went sour after eight and a half years, she ended up cheating on me with someone else from maplestory.
It only saddens me to see how the game is now. A truly empty shell of it's former self. The game used to have so many people, socializing. Not just bossing solo. A simple boss, was an adventure back then, you made friends through it all. It was something that logged good memories in your life. And that's what Maplestory is to me. Memories that will last a lifetime. I have no sour opinion on Nexon in all truth. Although I disagree with their current actions. I thank Nexon and Wizet for giving me something that no one and nothing could at the time of my childhood. Friends, love, and hope. Although my guild is dead, and most likely all of my friends have quit, my character still lives, my memory lives. And as long as I still have my memory, I'm still part of the Tiger that people remember, the good and bad. My name is Aaron, I am TigerAwoken, one of the 4 players of Tiger, and that is my story.